Not bad for a fat girl

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The Best Part of Me

I’m a teacher and I use Pinterest. There, I said it. I feel like maybe there’s a 12 step program somewhere in my future, because there are times when I spend hours on that site, mostly pinning teaching ideas. It’s not that I don’t have any of my own, it’s just that there are so many good ones out there to borrow!

One that I found and liked was a writing activity that asks kids to think deeply about the best “part” of themselves. They literally write about a body part, but I wanted my young writers to go beyond the surface.

To me it’s not enough to say, “I like my eyes. They allow me to see and they’re a pretty color.” Maybe for a young child that would be fine, but these kids are eight to thirteen years old, and so bright. They are capable of so much more.

I asked them to think about why they chose that particular part. What does it do for them? How does it make them feel? Does it affect their relationships with others? Does it matter what others think about it? I wanted them to really reflect.

Then I invited each student over for a photo of their selected part, to go along with the writing. Above are a few of the parts they chose. Their reasons are wonderful.

Have you ever thought about your best part? What is it, and why?




Sucked in to My Own Little World

I hardly know how to begin.tumblr_mbjyno3zyM1r5h04to1_500_large

I’ve written the first sentence and deleted it at least four times.

I’m ashamed. Embarrassed. Filled with doubts and fears.

Doubts that any of my dear readers are still around after I’ve more or less abandoned you. Afraid that I’ve damaged my own reputation by disappearing.

The flip side of that, of course, is the realization that there probably aren’t too many people (if any) who have actually noticed that the blog has gone quiet.

Oh sure, my personal Facebook friends are probably relieved that they haven’t had to scroll past my announcements over the past several days, but in terms of actually missing my ramblings, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who has been wondering what I’ve been up to. Still, I’m going to enlighten you.where have you been

Not much.

Naturally that’s not entirely true, but not much that’s particularly earth shattering.

I’ve been drawing into myself, and I don’t necessarily think that’s entirely a bad thing. I’ve been taking care of myself, eating well, and keeping up with my visits to the nutritionist. In fact I’m down almost twenty pounds over the last six weeks.

I’ve also been crazy busy at work, well until last Friday when my fall break began. There were report cards to prepare and parent-teacher conferences to hold and post-break lessons to plan, so it was a rough week. Still, it ended several days ago, so I suppose I could have gotten off Pinterest, closed the book I’m reading (Wild, by Cheryl Strayed), and started writing. Obviously I didn’t.

What I’ve done instead is immerse myself in the world of a high school student who is preparing to apply to college. It seems that our home life has become dominated by talk of SAT’s and college fairs, common apps and scholarship opportunities. Essays are being composed and websites are being scoured. We’re having lots of conversations about making choices and setting priorities. Today my son decided on the five universities he would like to apply to. I think he’s made good choices based on his interests, talents, disposition, and career goals. I’m proud of him. Any one of those five institutions will help him to achieve his goals, and I think he would be a good candidate for all of them.

Frankly, I’ve been having a little trouble with this phase of his life. His high school experience is completely different from mine. He doesn’t go to parties, he doesn’t drive, and I always know where he is. I’m grateful that he’s a much better behaved kid than I ever was, but I think it will make the inevitable separation that much more difficult. Frankly my parents were probably relieved when it was time for me to go away to college. I dread it with my son, but I know he’ll be ready. At least I hope he will. Still, it’s not going to be easy.


Salad Days

"Super Foods" salad with about a gazillion ingredients.

“Super Foods” salad with about a gazillion ingredients.

I never actually understood that term. I think it means good times, right? As in, “ah, those were the salad days.” But I don’t really understand why. What’s so great about a salad?

Salads are a bunch of work. They takes lots of small bits of ingredients and toss them all together. All of those ingredients have their own needs, like the need for washing and cutting. It’s quite labor intensive, if you ask me, for not such a great reward. I don’t HATE salads. In fact there are several salads that I like a lot. Chipotle has a wonderful salad that packs in the veggies and protein and tastes great. So does Wildflower Bakery. In fact, most places that are salad friendly do, but the problem is that I usually want the OTHER good stuff that’s on their menus. Still, when I do order a salad, I usually enjoy it.

The issue is making salads at home. You have to buy all those different ingredients and by the time you’re done you have a massive salad fit for a crowd, or you have lots of leftover veggies. Either way it’s a pain in the neck. Thank goodness for Pinterest and the popularity of mason jar salads.

I was skeptical at first, but then I saw a few of my colleagues jump on the bandwagon, and they were eating delicious salads each day with just one prep session. I poked around a bit more on the internet and learned that, like everything else, there are different methods for prepping these salads. I decided to modify what I read and do it my way.

My own personal preference is to keep the dressing separate and add it when I’m ready to eat. I put the following pre-washed wide-mouth mason jars:

black beans (one can split, rinsed and drained)

Mexican style canned corn (one can split, rinsed)

sliced red pepper

chicken breast strips

lettuce and spinach to the top

This week I plan to add in sliced mushrooms. One week I had some leftover shredded cheddar, so I added that and it stayed good all week.

One day of prep is no problem. These salads are excellent for lunch, and they fill me up. Still, I’m not above purchasing a ready-made salad from the store, particularly if it has 27 different ingredients in it, like my “Super Foods” salad from Whole Foods. In the words of a famous internet meme, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”